Biffa Blames ‘Confusing and Inconsistent’ Recycling System for Halt in Recycling Rates

Biffa Blames ‘Confusing and Inconsistent’ Recycling System for Halt in Recycling Rates

The waste management firm Biffa has blamed confusing labelling and inconsistent recycling collection services for the apparent halt in recycling rates.

Recycling rates are stuck at around 45%, but the government’s Resources & Waste Strategy states that it aims to recycle at least 65% of household and business waste by 2035.

Biffa’s chief executive said that a successful recycling system needs to be ‘environmentally ambitious, easy to use and cost effective.’

Biffa’s recycling recommendations

The firm has made recommendations to the government to increase recycling rates, including:

  • Making what can and can’t be recycled completely clear on labelling
  • Making sorting of recycling easier and making collections frequent and convenient
  • Not giving businesses too many rules when it comes to recycling and waste management, as this can put them off recycling properly
  • Keeping food waste separate, as there are so many opportunities to recycle it to produce energy

Biffa collects and recycles over 4.1m tonnes of waste and recycling from households and businesses in the UK. The company says that when it comes to waste management, it knows what works and what doesn’t and it believes that if these measures are implemented, that it will change the recycling system for the better and increase recycling rates.

Biffa’s head of environmental affairs commented that labelling needs be clearer, packaging needs to be designed in a way that makes it more recyclable, and it should be made from recyclable materials where possible. He added that this will result in higher quality materials being recycled and less contamination.

Business recycling compliance needs to be addressed

Business recycling needs vary hugely, depending on the type of business and the type of waste it produces. Biffa say that recycling rates can vary from 0% where there is no recycling service in place, to over 80%.

In England, businesses are under no obligation to use recycling services and it’s the recycling companies that are obliged to offer their services to business. This is different from Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, where responsibility for waste lies with the producer. This is something that Biffa would like to see change. The company say that responsibility for compliance needs to be addressed to increase business recycling rates.

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